This is Africa, the Dark Continent. I’ve always believed this name derived from the color of the people, but I see now it is for an entirely different reason.
I live in a small town, so I know about power outages. I remember the shadowy, frigid mornings when Laporte lost power. (They were more frequent when I was younger. I wonder if the power lines have been strengthened). We would start a fire using flashlights, and try to make toast over it.
But even when the electricity is working, Ghana is much darker than those mornings. And when the power outages occur, at least three times a week, it is so dark I forget I have eyes.
My ears grow sharp at these times, the singing of villagers, clucks of chickens, and pounding of rain become my world.
With or without power, Boko is a feast for the ears. Always, roosters are crowing, children are laughing, the mosque is calling, the churchgoers are chanting, radios are blasting. The houses are open, so it is easy to hear people talking or watching TV walking by. If the rest of Africa is this way, it is the Loud Continent.
And the Continent of Very Strong Smells. Spices that are distinctly foreign to me mix with the scents of frying food, burning trash, and occasionally human sweat or excrement. It’s sensational, often enjoyable, often causes the nose to wrinkle.Africa: The Dark, Loud, Continent that Smells Strongly. I like it.